Singtel teams with polytechnics to help retail/food & beverage SMEs go digital

Image credit: Prasit Rodphan/

Singtel has announced a partnership with Nanyang Polytechnic’s (NYP) Singapore Institute of Retail Studies (SIRS) and Singapore Polytechnic (SP) to empower SMEs in the retail and food and beverage sectors to be digitally savvy.

The partnerships augment the ongoing 99% SME initiative – launched by Singtel, DBS and other partners in 2015 –  by training SMEs to use tools and resources to get online, establish e-commerce capabilities and to market themselves more effectively.

Singtel will tie-up with NYP’s SIRS to help SMEs hire “digital professionals” who will guide the SMEs on adopting e-commerce, retail analytics and using digital marketing solutions such as search engine optimization and search engine marketing. These digital professionals comprise professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) who have been re-skilled.

SMEs which sign up for this scheme will enjoy government subsidies of up to 90%. SMEs can also seek additional support on social media marketing, online merchandising and analysis of online consumers from students and lecturers at the NYP’s Customer Experience and Analytics Centre.

Students of SP will advise Food and Beverage (F&B) owners on ways to better showcase their offerings on the 99% SME website, and guide them to adopt Singtel’s Connected Restaurant solution. This solution, which includes an online reservation and pick up service, allows owners to develop a new revenue source while attaining operational efficiencies. Based on the customer behavioral data obtained by this solution, the students will also offer recommendations to enhance the positioning of the owners’ products and promotions.

“Through the 99% SME movement, our collaboration with Nanyang Polytechnic and the Singapore Institute of Retail Studies are three-fold,” said Andrew Lim, managing director of Business Group, Group Enterprise at Singtel. “First, it helps SMEs improve productivity, reduce costs, gain new revenue and scale their businesses. Second, PMETs are being re-skilled and re-employed while using their skills to help SMEs in their digital journey. Third, the students will acquire deep skills and develop entrepreneurial spirit, which prime them for their career development in the digital field.”

Lim added that helping SMEs to digitize their businesses is a major initiative in the Committee on the Future Economy Report.

“We are confident this collaboration with Singtel will help raise the capabilities of SME retailers in adapting to the fast-changing retail landscape and establishing a global presence,” said Jeanne Liew, principal and chief executive officer of Nanyang Polytechnic.

Soh Wai Wah, principal and chief executive officer of Singapore Polytechnic said, “We have put in place an integrated team of students from Business, Information Technology and Communications disciplines to support the 99% SME initiative. The team will develop a full suite of solutions to help enhance the local F&B operators’ digital and marketing capabilities. This collaboration will not only enable the SMEs to stay competitive, it also provides a learning platform for our students to apply their skillsets.”

Last week, Singtel and Lazada announced the launch of 99% SME e-marketplace – a dedicated portal hosted on Lazada Singapore’s website for SMEs to advertise their offerings and tap on a wider online customer base.

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